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Editing within Movie Maker 2 ... how to remove unwanted "junk" video
Last updated 6-10-03

The most useful aspect of computer video editing is that you can weed out all the “junk video” that finds its way into everyone’s home movies. I don’t know about you, but I believe that 95% of home movies are incredibly boring … mostly because you have to sit through hours of inane film in order to get to the few minutes of interesting material. I’ve found that the audience attention span for my own “fantastic” home movies is very short … so I now try to keep all my own movies under 5 minutes long.

There are many kinds of “junk video” that you might want to remove from your home videos …

  1. Zooming
    Overzealous use of the camcorder’s zoom function is the number one sign of a beginning videographer. Zooming tends to make your audience sea-sick and should only be used for framing shots (ie. Zooming between recorded scenes). Fortunately, you can edit these zooms right out of your videos and only show the wide establishing shots followed by close-up shots.

  2. Preparing to speak
    If you are filming a narrator or filming a family member, there’s always that couple of seconds where they say “Ok … is the camcorder running?” Now you can cut that part out and start right with your interview.

  3. Stillness
    Good video needs motion … action … something happening. For example, if you are filming a birthday and it takes your small child two minutes to open his birthday present, consider cutting out the middle 1.5 minutes. Your audience wants to see the motion … your child’s delight at seeing the present, and the triumph of getting it open. Unless the child gets an exciting paper-cut, the rest of the video is unnecessary.

There are several ways to get rid of junk video, and a video editing program like Movie Maker 2 makes it easy.

  1. "Manual capture” only the video that you actually want
    When you transfer digital video from a camcorder to your computer, Movie Maker gives you the option of “manually capturing” your video, letting you decide exactly what sections of your tape you want to transfer. This allows you to capture ONLY the parts of your video tape that you want in your finished move, thus saving you a lot of precious hard drive space. While Movie Maker gives you the option of capturing an entire video tape, I rarely do this because 75% of my video is “junk” that I never want to watch again.

  2. Cutting clips in half
    Movie Maker allows you to “cut” your video clips in half. This is a great way to get rid of large chunks of “junk film.” You cut your clips in two different places within the program … both in the preview monitor, and also while working on the timeline. Simply find the location you want to cut and click the “cut button” located under the preview monitor.

    Cutting clips is great way for getting rid of large areas of video (or breaking up clips that you want to place at different places on your timeline). The only problem with cutting is that you must stay organized -- if you cut 30 separate video clips, you’ll end up with a whooping 60 video clips in your video collection and that can be hard to sort through.

  3. Trimming the ends of clips
    For the finest control, you can trim the ends off your clips by setting the exact “in and out” points of each video clip. While working on the timeline, simply “drag the ends” of each clip to the exact point that you would like it to start and stop. You can accomplish very fine control of each clips start/stop points by trimming … especially if you zoom in on each clip using the magnifying glass.

As you can see, deleting unwanted film is very easy to accomplish within an editing program like Movie Maker 2. This gives you much more freedom when you actually film … as now it’s OK to film your kids’ entire 2 hour soccer game. You can always edit out the junk (those other pesky kids) using your computer. After all, film is cheap, and you never when you’re going to film that surprise goal!

Next: Trimming Clips (video)
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You can find more useful home-video "tips and tricks" like this one at www.mightycoach.com - they even have an online-video course that teaches you to edit video on your home computer!

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